By Rob Kiser
The Tippecanoe boys basketball team just never stopped battling.
As a result, the Red Devils were able to outlast Piqua in overtime in the opening round of the Red Bracket of the Buckeye Insurance Group Holiday Classic, stunning the Indians 52-47.
Tippecanoe will play Tecumseh in the championship game at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, while Piqua will play Belmont in the consolation game at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
“This is a big win for us,” Tippecanoe coach Joel Visser said. “We were 3-4 coming in and We beat a really good team tonight. Hopefully, this will help us turn the corner. We have lost a lot of close games.”
It was a tough loss for the Indians, who dropped to 5-3.
“There are three parts to a basketball game,” Piqua coach Heath Butler said. “Physically, I thought we were there. Emotionally and mentally, I thought we were there at times and other times we weren’t.”
In the extra period, Tippecanoe executed its game-plan to perfection.
The Red Devils scored 13 points and never attempted a field goal.
“That was the plan, with us being in the double bonus,” Visser said. “We were going to attack the middle. We weren’t going to shoot unless we had a layup.”
Tipp made its first 13 free throws in overtime — and finished 13 of 14 from the line in the extra period.
Jakob Prall and Nathan Shirley were both 4-for-4 in the extra period from the line, while Aaron Hughes and Joe Tesch were both 2-for-2. By the time Carter Mann went 1-for-2 in the final minute, the outcome had long since been decided.
“We were a little slow moving our feet on defense,” Butler said. “You have to give Tipp credit for the way they stepped up and shot the free throws.”
At the same time, Piqua couldn’t buy a basket — only a couple late threes made the final score as close as it was.
“We got behind,” Butler said. “And then we had to foul.”
Piqua had jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the early going as Tippecanoe missed 16 of its first 18 shots.
But, the Red Devils were able to stay in the game, trailing just 9-5 after one quarter, 21-16 at half and 33-26 after three quarters.
“We really didn’t (take advantage of Tipp’s cold shooting),” Butler said. “Their defense forced us into some quick shots.”
Tipp scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter to take the lead and it was close the rest of the way.
Tipp nearly ran out the final 1:55 of regulation — with the help of an offensive rebound — but a trap led to a steal by Derrick Gullett with 20 seconds to go, before Piqua missed the final shot, forcing ovetime.
“Piqua 2-3 matchup zone was just giving us fits,” Visser said. “Fortunately, we were able to find some rhythm in the second half.”
Mann had 11 of his 14 in the second half to lead a balanced Tipp attack, while Tesch grabbed seven rebounds.
Colton Bachman scored 20 points for Piqua. Bradley Hohlbein added 10 and CJ Davis grabbed 11 rebounds.
Tipp was 13 of 43 from the floor and 23 of 30 from the line, while Piqua was 19 of 50 from the floor and four of seven from the line.
Piqua won the battle of the boards 28-22, but had 17 turnovers to Tipp’s 11.
Jakob Prall 0-5-5, Nathan Shirley 2-4-8, Aaron Hughes 2-2-7, Joe Tesch 2-3-7, Carter Mann 4-6-14, Zach Bonifas 1-0-2, Zach Wildermuth 0-2-2, Adam Grieshop 0-0-0, Daniel Hagen 2-0-6, Casey Kronour 0-1-1. Totals: 13-23-52.
Bradley Hohlbein 5-0-10, Derrick Gullett 1-0-2, Nate Monnin 3-2-8, CJ Davis 2-0-5, Colton Bachman 7-2-20, Ben Schmiesing 0-0-0, Brady Hill 0-0-0, Nash Black 1-0-2, Caleb Patton 0-0-0, Hunter Hawk 0-0-0. Totals: 19-4-47.
3-point field goals — Tippecanoe: Hughes, Hagen (2). Piqua: Davis, Bachman (4).
Score by Quarters
Tippecanoe 5 16 26 39 52
Piqua 9 21 33 39 47
Records: Tippecanoe 4-4, Piqua 5-3.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.